ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Marcellus Shale task force will study the impact of drilling for natural gas in western Maryland as well as how to tax that drilling and liability for damage caused by gas exploration and production.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed an executive order on Monday that requires the state Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources to undertake the study.

The governor’s office said the study will have three parts. The task force will present recommendations by the end of the year on legislation to tax drilling and establish liability standards.

Recommendations on best practices for natural gas exploration and production are to be delivered by Aug. 1, 2012, and a final report including environmental impacts of drilling is to be issued by Aug. 1, 2014.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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